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No, You Can’t!

No, You Can’t!

Re: Roi Tamkin’s essay, “When I Die, Can I Come Back?”

While the answer is “no,” I was somewhat amused by Mr. Tamkin’s exploration of various religions (e.g., Buddhism, Wicca, Judaism, Christianity) with brief discussion of their respective philosophies concerning reincarnation. However, Mr. Tamkin’s assessment of the Judeo-Christian attitude towards reincarnation is incorrect. While he is generally correct about Emperor Justinian I having a role in the development of what is now the Orthodox Catholic church, the focus of the Second Council of Constantinople was reconciliation of the heretical Monophysites, who denied the humanity of Jesus Christ (vs. the heretical Nestorites who taught that Jesus was two distinct persons – one human, one divine); there is apparently no evidence that reincarnation was an issue at the time.

Had reincarnation been a solid belief in the Jewish religion (the Yonassen Gershon quote is ludicrous) it would have remained preserved in the Books of Moses (which survive to this day in the Old Testament and Torah – Mat. 24:35). Regardless of what Justinian I or anyone else did concerning the Orthodox Canon as Justinian’s “Jesuits” (assuming their function in rounding up and burning Bibles as described in the essay) most likely did not reach out fully into the post-diaspora Jewish communities; i.e., Ethiopia, Spain, etc. Additionally, it is not likely that the Roman Pope at the time (Vigilius) would have supported such an order from Constantinople.

Mr. Tamkin mentions “three chapters” of the Bible discussing reincarnation being removed by Justinian I, yet he does not indicate the former location of these three chapters, nor what they actually said (one begs to reply “they were removed, so we don’t know where they were!”). Assuming Justinian I was a “good Christian,” he would have been hard-pressed to remove anything from the Bible (Rev. 22:18-19, etc.). Nevertheless, I am sure that copies of the chapters in question would have survived somehow and made their way into a book by Elaine Pagels. Speaking of which, her champion of Gnostic Christianity, Origen, the source of much Biblical confusion, the most likely source for a Christian recognition of reincarnation, and perhaps the source of the Alexandrian Septuagint (the “inspiration” behind the Latin Vulgate, Wescot and Hort’s “revisions” and ultimately the New International Version Bible), with his mingling of Greek philosophy with Christianity, did not support reincarnation. The most likely source of the myth of “Judeo-Christian acceptance of reincarnation” is Edgar Cayce or some other charlatan. 1 Cor. 15: 33.

Reincarnation is soundly rejected in both the New and Old Testaments: Heb. 9:27 and Gen. 3:19, respectfully. Thus, for Mr. Tamkin’s sake I would recommend he seek out a Rabbi who actually knows his Torah and ultimately seek out the English version of the Received Text.

Sincerely,

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Beauty Links

Beauty Links

Check out what bards throughout the ages think of beauty…

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/grads/b/Gary.N.Boone/beauty_and_love.html

Just what is beauty? Read up on your history…

http://www.jolique.com/main.htm

Do you know what they do with the fat taken from beefy thighs? Well, this site won’t tell you, but it has everything else on liposuction.

http://www.liposite.com/

Well, there is no beauty without ugly…

http://www.thesociety.org.uk/ugly_people.htm

Damn, women do some funky stuff to get pretty. Check out the history of beauty aids.

http://inventors.about.com/science/inventors/library/inventors/blbeauty.htm

Starving yourself into a stick is not pretty. Not even for the Academy Awards. Find out about eating disorders.

http://caringonline.com/

Hey, it’s not just women. Men are vain, too…

http://www.hairclub.com/

Discover “the beauty of chaos” with over 500 graphic depictions of the Mandelbrot set.

http://i30www.ira.uka.de/~ukrueger/fractals/

Beauty, eh?

http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/9134

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Responses of the Weird

Responses of the Weird

Sometimes in the course of human events it becomes necessary to give away a few pit-bull puppies. I, being of sound mind, am reluctant to give them away to someone such as the writer of the letter in the June issue of online Ink 19 [see last month’s “Weird Letter of the Month”].

Finding homes for puppies is a double-edged sword. I am, in principle, opposed to the selling of flesh. On the other hand, I tend to believe that if someone has an investment in an animal, they are more likely to provide it with the care that it deserves.

When I determine a price for an animal, it is not based on greed or a profit motive. The price is based on what a decent piece of meat would cost. I feel that this would assure me that the animal would not find it’s way to someone’s dinner table. This is why I refused to give the writer a puppy.

I hope this settles that controversy.

Thanks,

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Rock Critic 1970

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My Pastoral Nightmare

My Pastoral Nightmare

There is no beauty in my hometown. There are no bards to sing songs about “little pink houses”; this is no heartland. My hometown is a Faulkner monstrosity. In my new Eden, cruelty is the only pastime and bestiality remains a way of life. Here, you’ll lose an eye for an original thought, a shot in the jaw for reading a book. No one smiles and a grimace is the closest you’ll get to a “hello.” Kudzu covers everything except for the sprawling strip malls, the political billboards, and the latest multiplex. The highway slithers past the endless video stores and mechanics.

The hipster kids sidle past with their low-rider trousers and the Mustang Petes cruise past in their low-riders. At least once a year, one will kill another. The hipsters dream of being black, listening to “gangsta rap” in rooms under black light and posters of Tupac. The Mustang Petes spend all their money on getting their cars covered with Japanese decals from the state fair.

The lumpy-faced daughters of hairdressers date boys named after firearms. The screams of cheerleaders pierce the night as they sprawl on the hood of a Camaro as each member of the varsity football team has his turn. The girls will be pregnant before they’re eighteen. The fathers will work in construction, as they grow lean and bitter as the seasons past.

In this town, the ruling class is white and well-tanned. It is maintained by a steady stream of detritus that flows down the highway from the larger city. Only the Mexicans bussed in for the harvest ever leave. Backroom dealers and den mothers set our town’s agenda with a razor and a mirror in a motel room. Later on, they serve tea and Pepperidge Farm cookies to the elderly.

In my dystopia, beauty is an elusive ideal. Beauty is a thing of dreams. Here, everyone recognizes physical beauty as a sham. The mail-order bride dreams of returning home. The salesman dreams of burying the competition. Even Father Thomas has an eye on Widow Humphreys. In my town, the only thing of real beauty is an escape. Me? I dream of burning this fuckin’ place down.

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The Beast of Beauty

The Beast of Beauty

How’s that saying go? “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes straight down to the bone”? I gotta admit it: I’m a sucker for a pretty face. Show me a man with dark eyes and long eyelashes and you might as well hang it up in ever getting me to turn my eyes away. I readily admit this is possibly my worst fault. I have a very bad habit of judging people on appearances. It has gotten me so deep into hot water on so many occasions that, I swear, I should have been drowned a long, long time ago. I will believe anything a pretty face tells me. Yep, that’s me — sucker of the year. I win the award every time.

Honestly, though, I am not one who generally believes that a pretty face should be able to make such an impact on my opinion of that person. It goes against everything I believe and stand for to be right and just. Aesthetic beauty should not have such an influence on how I feel about a person in any shape, form, or fashion. But it does, and it bothers me a great deal. I really do wish I could get past the “cover” of the “book” and appreciate the contents rather than the packaging. I can’t seem to let go of that flaw in my character, though. I have a real hard time accepting the not-so-perfect people, as far as their looks are concerned. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like to see an artist or band’s promo photo before hearing their music. It’s also a big reason I don’t like to be able to see an artist performing onstage and why I hang in the back of the venue until they’ve convinced me that they are decent musicians. I know I have a tendency to judge the music on what I am seeing on the stage. If there’s a hunky guy in a band I am reviewing at a live show, I feel like I will be swayed by that one member’s good looks. I want to be objective, without my hormones getting involved!

I truly believe that being led by the physical attractiveness of a person is a major flaw of character and judgment, and, unfortunately, it is one of my own flaws. Why I do it when I don’t want to do it is beyond me. Maybe it’s Mother Nature’s way of making the species more desirable that drives my decision-making. Whatever it is, it really grates on my nerves in a big way.

I detest beauty pageants and magazines that flaunt the “50 Most Beautiful People.” It makes me retch to see a guy dating a girl just because she’s a “hottie.” But, as I have said all along … I am so very guilty of it myself. I have been widowed close to 11 years now, and have had plenty of offers for dates and men who want to have a relationship with me, but I quickly turn and run away if the guy is not pleasing to my eye. To have to wake up the next morning with a man who is ugly physically is not something I ever want to do in my life. I get enough ugly just having to face myself in the mirror in the morning!

So, if this whole concept of accepting people for who they are on the inside is so important to me, why do I feel like it’s important to have a “looker” on my arm? Please, if you have the answer, let me know! Beauty and the desire to look upon beauty — whether the person is a scab or not on the inside — is something that I wrestle with daily. It makes me feel like a real horse’s ass sometimes, too. I know better, and I know that inside that toad who keeps asking me to dance, there is probably more beauty than I can stand, but I can’t get past the buck teeth, the balding head, or the pock marks on the skin. This alone makes me an ugly person, and I understand that reality.

Real beauty does come from within, and this is merely a simple truth. Beauty comes from the soul and the heart in beautiful actions and sweet words of honesty and truth. So how can I ever get past the outside ugliness of a person and be able to see that person’s inner beauty? I can’t — and will never be able to see that beauty — because I do not have it in my own eye. The beauty in the “eye of the beholder” adage applies here. I’m blinded by outer beauty, and therefore am ugly myself, because I can’t see past the outer coating of another person.

I don’t think I am alone in my flaws here at all, though. We are all too blinded by physical attractiveness, or else we wouldn’t have Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz glossing magazine covers and selling millions of copies. The whole cosmetic and plastic surgery business would come to a screeching halt if everyone decided to correct their own character flaws involving the judging of others on their appearances. Miracle Bra and control-top panty hose sales would plummet. Hair salons and Bally Health Club memberships would die a sudden death. Men wouldn’t feel the need to prance about the meat market dance clubs like peacocks with their tail feathers unfurled.

How would we ever get past the “initial attraction” of the physical appearance of another and into relationships without outer beauty? No one would ever get to know anyone else without that first attraction of the outer person, especially in our day and time when there is so little time to talk and see what’s on the inside! There has to be that first glimpse of outer beauty (in whatever we consider “beautiful”) to make that first “hook” to drag us into wanting to know more of that specific “beautiful” person. It’s why we have been given the desire to be attracted to what we consider a thing of beauty. Is it really all that bad to want someone by your side who you consider physically attractive? Are people, like myself, who can’t get past the outer layer really such scumbags and low in character? I really don’t think so. What really makes outer beauty a thing to be looked upon as evil and bad is that we still hang around the “beautiful person” even after we finally see that they are actually extremely ugly on the inside — and we still give them the idea that they are beautiful no matter how repulsive and disgusting they are on the inside.

It’s a two-way street, really. I can consider myself ugly on the inside because I judge people initially on their appearances, but I can also walk away and forget that beauty if they turn out to be gnomes with warts on their souls. Beauty is something of importance to the initial attraction, but beyond that first gasp of “Oh my, what a hottie!”, it really depends on the beauty on the inside.

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The Fountain of Truth

The Fountain of Truth

According to the Center for Eating Disorders, 56% of us hate our bodies. That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Our bodies were created for a spectacular use. They carry our souls through our time spent on Earth, and they are only as good as we are. Your body — each dimple, every freckle and fat roll — is a magnificent gift, a creation beyond comprehension. And let’s face it: Your body is about as much a part of you as the almost-ritualistic self-loathing that seems to be all the rage in 2000.

So why? I know, I know — we all have those days when you really wish the mirror was lying, but if you really want to blame someone, how about yourself? The way you look on the outside is a direct reaction to what you look like on the inside. What you put in your body determines the image it portrays outwardly. You cannot expect to spend your life on the couch with a bag of Doritos as a best friend and just pray to look like Cindy or Tyrese. Hating your body won’t make you look the way you want, and depriving it of food or overeating won’t bring you to your ideal weight. If it did, we’d all look just they way we wanted and have no qualms whatsoever about being “beautiful.” After all, beauty is what it’s all about, right? That’s the very reason we’re here, right?

We all want to be attractive and feel good about ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with that — no one ever said there was. However, you don’t need to eat like Bugs Bunny or join an overrated gym. I’ll let you in on a little secret: No one, no one in this whole world knows what beauty is to everyone else, so for us to try and become what someone else portrays as beautiful is like selling your soul. To want to be healthy and look nice and feel good about yourself when you look in the mirror is one thing, but to hate yourself for not being someone else’s opinion is just ridiculous. I would much rather be too fat, too skinny, or have buckteeth than sell my soul to an ideal I know I can never live up to.

If you love, like, or, hell, even just accept what you look like and take care of your body the way it deserves, I’ll be willing to bet you anything that there is someone else in this world who thinks you are the most beautiful thing ever. Fab abs and pecs of steel are great, but they aren’t eternal. Positive body image can be, and isn’t that what it’s really all about?

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I Don’t Believe It!

I Don’t Believe It!

In a staggering example of the ignorance and idiocy that seems to define modem conservatism, a Mr. David T. Lindsay professes his “Belief” in the June issue of Ink 19. While several comments in his column indicate that this may be some attempt at satire, I wanted to address a handful of the many outrageous claims offered in Mr. Lindsay’s piece just in case his “Belief(s)” happen to be sincere.

Wittingly or otherwise, Mr. Lindsay has chosen the perfect framing device for his column. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a king condemned to Tartarus for overwhelming pride and deceit. After tricking the gods on numerous occasions (including obtaining a “Get Out of Death Free” card from Hades), he was condemned to roll his stone forever and ever and ever. So, too, do certain “conservatives” tell the same lies again and again and again.

I believe Mr. Lindsay intended to use Sisyphus as a metaphor for North American culture. It’s pretty appropriate; like Sisyphus, we think we’re so clever (up to and including our attempts to cheat mortality) that we rarely see the greater implications of our actions. Like that Greek king, we fight an endless battle with ourselves, wherein the gravity of our efforts increases until the “stone” threatens to crush us. Every so often, we reach a summit, than exhaust ourselves, dodge out of the stone’s way and repeat the journey.

Unlike Sisyphus, Mr. Lindsay is not especially clever. His “beliefs” are parroted from talk-show pundits, and are as historically inaccurate as they are screamingly illogical. It would take more time, space and patience than I care to expend on this (Sisyphusian) task to refute all of the misstatements in Mr. Lindsay’s column. Many of them are so subjective that trying to counter them would be like rolling the proverbial boulder uphill (and about as useful). Still, there are a few howlers that I can’t help but comment upon….

In what must be the single stupidest statement in the history of ink, Mr. Lindsay asserts that “…it’s the Democratic Party who (sic.) has started every war in the 20th century. The Republicans ended their wars.” One wonders which planet Mr. Lindsay has been living on. First of all, comparatively few of the 20th century’s several hundred wars featured any U. S. involvement whatsoever. Secondly, those that have spilled American blood nearly always began overseas; Vietnam, Korea, the Balkan War, the Lebanese War, the Somalian Conflict, and World Wars I and II raged for months or even years before the U.S. government stepped in.

Next, Mr. Lindsay’s assertion also ignores the military adventures (or misadventures) conducted under Ronald Reagan, which included “small” wars in Granada, El Salvador, Lebanon, the Persian Gulf, Panama, Nicaragua, and Hollywood (the Rambo Wars of the 1980s). Several of these wars were conducted in direct violation of U.S. law, and their true costs in men and money were frequently lost in reams of “plausible deniability.” (Does anyone out there still remember Iran/Contra and the presidential fibbing that accompanied that fiasco?)

Mr. Lindsay also ignores what may have been the greatest military triumph of his beloved Republican Party: the Gulf War, instigated under Reagan (who financed Saddam Hussain’s arsenal in hopes that Saddam would whup Iranian ass with it), waged under Bush, and left hanging in an unfinished state for Clinton, who has managed to contain Saddam with minimal bloodshed since 1992.

Finally, I have to ask Mr. Lindsay exactly which wars were “started” by a Democratic president and “ended” by a Republican. Aside from Korea (inspired by the same anti-Communist sentiment that Mr. Lindsay later defends) and Vietnam (which was vigorously protested by liberals long before conservatives joined in), I confess my mind is blank. The wars that occurred just prior to this past century — the Spanish-American War and some military “excursions” in the Philippines were conducted under Republican presidents. U.S. involvement in WWI began and ended under Democrat Wilson. Democrat FDR (elected after Republicans Coolidge and Hoover trashed the U.S. economy) entered WWII after an attack on a U.S. military base. He remained President until his death in 1945, after which Democrat, Truman, “finished” the war. All other U.S. wars fought in the last century occurred under the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations; it could even be argued that Democrat Clinton “finished” wars begun by his Republican predecessors (the Gulf War, Somalia, and the Balkan Conflict).

And this is just the first and second sentences of the fourth paragraph of Mr. Lindsay’s article! That paragraph, and the one before it, go on to make some rather heavy-handed generalizations about education and the environment, too. In the interest of brevity I’ll leave the education thing alone; the “environment” remark, though, screams for an answer later in this letter.

After a few wildly solipsistic statements slamming Democrats for protesting the stars-and-bars and supporting affirmative action, Mr. Lindsay goes on to state “that blacklisted screenwriters (in the 1950s)… got exactly what they deserved.” Setting aside the simple argument that many of those accused and prosecuted may not have been Communists at all, we still find broad historical inaccuracies and bent logic. First, he states that “these men were communists [sic.], have never denied being communists [sic.]”; um, wrong. Quite a few of them did just that, but were not believed. Later in the same sentence, he says “as such they took their directions from a foreign government that sometimes ordered acts of criminal sabotage and treason.” While I cannot deny that the Russian government probably did have spies in other nations (as every world government, including our own, does), and probably did order some of them to perform treasonous acts (likewise), I can’t recall any specific “acts of criminal violence” that Hollywood screenwriters could – or were supposed to have – perpetrated. The blacklist “trials” were motivated by politics and fear, not by exploding buildings on Sunset Boulevard.

Whew! In a tangled paragraph so filled with illogic that it’s impossible to address in brief, Mr. Lindsay goes on to:

• confuse the Hollywood blacklist with the Army-McCarthy hearings;

• compare the two of them to the hunt for Nazi war criminals, and the Klan-battling of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations;

• state that the Hollywood screenwriters “hid behind” the international pursuit of Nazi war criminals;

• claim that McCarthy used those same “existing laws” to track down the elusive Hollywood terrorists (he didn’t – in fact, he used very few “existing laws” at all, he just waved around a list and made unsupported accusations);

• then wrap the whole thing up in a non sequitur attributed to the American Communist Party. Supposedly, this quote reflects the Communist indifference to the Poles during Hitler’s invasion, “because these fellow travelers were completely behind Hitler until he turned on Stalin.”

In the process of crafting the gross generalization and bent logic that links blacklisted screenwriters (and by extension Democrats) with Hitlerian sympathizers, Mr. Lindsay misses the crowning irony of his thesis: Joe McCarthy and many other “red-blooded Americans” also opposed U.S. involvement in WWII until after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Some, like Charles Lindbergh, even expressed popular support for Hitler.

(After the war, “Tailgunner Joe” falsified his military history to bolster his public credibility; that hoax was partially responsible for McCarthy’s subsequent destruction.)

The irony bell reverberates throughout Mr. Lindsay’s conclusion: “The only recourse… against the spread of totalitarian ideals is to deny treasonous individuals their livelihood and make them suffer the shame… of being labeled guilty by suspicion.” Uh, right. And this process differs from “totalitarian ideals” exactly how?

Mr. Lindsay then goes on to commit his own “treasonous acts” by stating “I believe Bill Clinton hates Christians enough to murder 80 of them at Waco….” Oh, boy. Good thing Mr. Lindsay and his fellow conspiracy buffs have eluded Janet Reno’s hit squads so far! Like Mr. Lindsay’s later assertion about trees in America, this statement is so full of crap it’s probably not worth dismantling. However, my Evil Godless Communist Masters demand I point out that the Waco massacre originated as a showdown between Federal agents and a heavily armed separatist group. As one who actually remembers the day-to-day updates of that standoff (as opposed to one who swallows talk-radio eulogies to the “Waco martyrs”), I can vouch that many Republican leaders and conservative pundits not only supported the raid initially, but heckled new President Clinton and new Attorney General Reno for “being soft” during their 50 days of negotiations with “terrorists.” (A sentiment Mr. Lindsay echoes in the previous paragraph.) The ordeal ended in a full-on invasion when Reno tried to show how tough she could be; the subsequent botched cover-up demonstrated what an idiot she could be.

I do not in any way defend “Quick Draw Reno;” her solutions to difficult situations too often involve overwhelming force. (Not so different, though less subtle, than the terrorist tactics occasionally employed by conservative justice leaders like Edwin Meese and J. Edgar Hoover.) But jumping from the Waco debacle to an image of Clinton-as-Nero is a bit of a stretch. Clinton is every bit as Christian as his fellow lying philanderers Newt Gingrich and Jimmy Swaggart, and has displayed far more Christian charity than both of them combined. If indeed Clinton was out to purge the country of Christian dissidents, then Jerry Falwell (who made the Nero claim “official” with his slanderous series of taped allegations) would have been at the top of the list.

After a long, twisted tirade in which Mr. Lindsay turns the Elian Gonzalez mess (fanned by conservatives who’d apparently forgotten that “family values” extend to families who aren’t U.S. citizens) into a bizarre assault on Christianity in general, Mr. Lindsay expands his horizons. In another jaw-dropping display of intellectual homicide, he asserts that “the American people,” the most culturally and ethnically diverse population in human history, “are conservative.” As evidence, he cites “every election for President since 1948” (halfway through the last century – guess the others didn’t count). Beginning with the narrow election of Truman (who had just lost a great deal of support due to his racial integration of the U.S. Army and his opposition to lynching), he refutes every Democratic victory since WWII as the results of “voting fraud,” slander, and “only a few thousand votes.” Just for good measure, he slams Jimmy Carter – the eternal right-wing punching bag, who is possibly the most honest, Christian man to inhabit the White House – in passing. I have to wonder how many of Ink 19’s readers and staff (Mr. Lindsay included) were of voting age when Carter was elected… or even alive at all. Is this 1976 election, which was tainted by a decade of social and economic upheaval, a fair assessment of the electorate today? Personally, I doubt it. And even if it is, Carter still won. As did Clinton. Twice.

For those keeping score, the post-WWII presidential elections stand even at six wins per party. Ford was not elected, and Johnson was elected only once. You were saying, Mr. Lindsay?

Following a long list of subjective and unrelated snippets, some of which I could argue with forever (“feminism has ended…”) and others of which I agree with (“fashion models are icy, sexless and disproportionate…”), we come to the crowning glories of Mr. Lindsay’s rant: “I believe global warming is a fraud since we are coming out of an ice age, “we have more trouble with environmentalists than we do with the destruction of the environment,” and “there are more trees today in the year 2000 than there were in the year 1900…”. This is where I drew the line, warmed up my computer, and prepared to roll that boulder up that goddamned hill.

Why? Because I am so bloody sick of seeing bald-faced ignorance paraded around as “the right thing to do” (literally). Because I am so fed up with dittoheads who can’t be bothered to check their facts before spouting off, and who trumpet their stupidity from the hilltops as if it were some sort of virtue. Because people so criminally stupid have brought us to an environmental precipice, and now urge us to fling ourselves off it in some bizarre act of populist defiance.

If Mr. Lindsay had bothered to examine any source more sophisticated than talk radio, he might have learned that the last “ice age” ended some 10,000 years ago, thus allowing for the evolution of human society. While it’s true that some scientists support an exceedingly controversial theory stating that we’re in the tail end of the Quaternary Ice Age, this climate has created the world as we know it. Any form of global warming would threaten our species in ways we cannot predict. Thus, it’s something to worry about whether it comes from human pollution or not. Presuming that Mr. Lindsay has even heard of the Quaternary Ice Age, he’s still wrong. Trading theories about a documented phenomenon does not make that phenomenon a “fraud.”

And global warming is a documented phenomenon. Geological and archeological records indicate that temperatures have been fluctuating up and down throughout human history. The current warming trend, however, is more severe (in many scientists’ opinion) than any other climate change in human history. Whether the increase comes from a gradual environmental shift, human pollutants, or both, it’s still a heavily documented fact. As for that cause: A 1992 Gallup poll found that 66% of scientists polled believed global warming was caused by human pollution; 10% disagreed and the rest were undecided. Sounds pretty convincing to me…

When you actually think about it, environmental responsibility is hard to dismiss. Common sense (that thing conservatives are supposed to value so highly) maintains that if you use a thing, it is gone. If you use it quickly, it is gone quickly. If you throw it on the floor, it stays on the floor until you clean it up. The core ideas behind environmentalism insist that we use as little as we can, replace what we use, and clean up our mess when we’re done using something. How simple. How sensible. And yet the very idea inspires apoplexy in many “conservatives.” Odd — the American Heritage Dictionary defines “conservative” as a derivative of “conserve.” What does “conserve” mean? “To protect from loss or depletion: preserve… from Latin conservare: com (intensive) + servare (to keep).” Does anyone in the known universe know how this word came to represent people who want to waste natural resources just because they can? Seems like the opposite of “conservatism” to me. And the opposite of common sense, too, especially if you’re facing some sort of drastic climate change.

And yet environmentalists “cause more trouble than the destruction of the environment.” Exactly how? If you destroy your environment, you have nowhere to live. Sounds like “trouble” to me. Stating that people who want to preserve the environment are more of a threat than the destruction of that same environment is mislogic that would make even the Mad Hatter’s head explode.

Oh, yeah, I did say I’d get back to the tree thing. Paraphrasing Rush Limbaugh (without credit, I might add), Mr. Lindsay follows an unprovable yet improbable statement (“more trees… than 1900”) with a direct contradiction of his statement about environmentalists. Obviously, we cannot accurately measure the tree cover of 100 years ago; we can, however, cite the Encyclopedia of American Forest and Conservation History, which approximates the turn-of-last-century tree density to be roughly 930 million acres. The same source places the current forest density at roughly 730 million acres, a fair share of which has come from reforestation efforts over the last 40 years.

Who led those efforts? Environmentalists.

Over whose objections? The conservatives.

Mr. Lindsay justifies his view by saying that we used more trees 100 years ago because “our entire economy was based on wood back then.” But of course, a nation whose total population was less than 1/10 the size of our current one cut down more wood without help from 20th~century machinery, and consumed more forestry than our home-obsessed, paper-glutted, post-industrial selves.

Right. When Mr. Lindsay finds the figures that support the idea, I’d be interested to see them. As it stands, the image of mad lumberjacks chopping down whole forests in a single day makes me laugh – ruefully.

Mr. Lindsay’s “logic” also completely ignores the effects of 40 years of environmental conservation and renewal programs – programs instigated by those pesky environmentalists. Without those programs, we can be sure that our resources would be even more polluted and depleted than they already are.

Of course, Mr. Lindsay can hold whatever “Beliefs” he wants, even when what he believes is probably wrong. As for myself, I believe Mr. Lindsay should stay away from newspaper writing until he knows what the fuck he’s talking about.

• •

Julio Diaz responds: Thanks for your extensive and passionate rebuttal. This is probably a good time to remind our readers that opinions expressed in Ink 19 are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff and management of Ink 19. In this case, the opinions are wholly David T. Lindsay’s, and in point of fact, several of our staffers vehemently disagreed with much of the essay, myself included. However, Ink 19 believes in providing an uncensored forum for our staff, both in music reviews and in op-ed pieces. I may no more agree with the beliefs of some of our writers than I do with some of their musical tastes, but who am I to say that their opinion is any less valid than mine is?

I would like to say that I am personally thrilled that the essay moved you to such a rebuttal — in print, no less. It pleases me no end to know that folks are not only reading the stuff we print, but THINKING about it. That was part of the reason we ran David’s essay in the first place — we hoped it would get a response, and yours was beyond our grandest hopes. It makes the job worth doing to know that folks like you are paying attention.

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Weird Letter of the Month

Weird Letter of the Month

Presented unedited for your enjoyment – ed.

june 8 2000 it is 2am she has beaten me look look mikel she screams from on top of the big brown bear that i bought her for two fifty at the thrift store today it’s a rainbow i look up too late and catch a commercial or some boring announcer i only have cable for the kids to bribe them make them think that my house is better than the others that they could choose to grow up in eat cereal in feed goldfish in zone out for hours and hours to nintendo or playstation in we bowled tonight or she bowled while her brother spent the night with a boy who will leave the fifth grade behind tomorrow morning while we will sleep no alarm clock set like there are no bills to pay no goals to achieve no books to write no worlds to conquer i didnt bowl i wrote a poem that she wouldn’t let me finish she doesn’t yet realize that writing great literature is considered by some to be more important than a six year old bowling a strike with a ball she can barely lift…she is praying now in her bed after a fight that i won…she wanted to sleep in the dirty blue jeans and stained pink tshirt that she spent the day in and i wanted her to put on a clean tshirt on of mine the extra large ones that i used to wear back when i was fat.

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Weird Letter of the Month

Weird Letter of the Month

Printed for your enjoyment, completely unedited – Ed.

I WILL LIKE A PITBULL FROM MICHAEL TO WHO EVEVER LETS ME BUY ONE. BUT IT HAS TO BE A PUPPY. AL JUST ONE TIGER PITBULL. MY address is 13909 preacher chapman pl. centervalle. (703)2667988. call me as soon as you can it has to be a boy it only can be free

OK, anyone want to call this guy and figure out what he’s smoking?